Facebook News Feed Advertising: the Bigger the Better?

By Posted in - Blog on January 10th, 2014 0 Comments

Promoted posts or sponsored stories have become a staple in our Facebook news feeds. Scroll through your feed and in-between your acquaintance’s baby pictures you will find posts suggesting brands, products or people you might like based off of your friend’s interests or even as a result of your own recent internet browsing history.

Facebook ads have been around for quite a while; it is the company’s main source of revenue, after all. Unlike their tiny predecessors confined to the right column of the site, news feed ads demand attention. At a whopping recommended size of 1200×627 pixels, news feed ads are not only front and center, they are nearly 10 times the size of previous ad options.

Looking for examples? Pictured: a standard right-column ad on Facebook.

Also differentiating them from the norm is the social aspect that comes along with news feed ads. Like any post you share with your friends, there is an option to like, share or comment on the ads – but you already knew that.  What you may not have known is the long-term effect these social functions have on the ad over time.

Combating the Dreaded Ad Decay

The launch of a new ad on Facebook, be it a right column or news feed ad, typically comes with a surge of clicks right off-the-bat followed by a steady decline in the click-through-rate over the next two weeks. This trend can be attributed largely in part to ad decay, or an ad’s effectiveness losing steam due to over-exposure.

In the past, the best practice was to rotate your ad’s image or text with some amount of frequency to regain your audience’s attention. With news feed ads, however, the more social activity garnered by your ad the better the placement you receive. Over time your ad has the potential to become the social powerhouse that legacy ads never had the chance to be – not to mention that high ranking costs you nothing extra.

We’ve all been there: you share a funny quip, a thoughtful notion, a photo of your lunch. For some reason, it fails to catch anyone’s eye and subsequently plummets to the bottom of the news feed like a stone never to re-surface unless new life is given to it (typically via a pity comment from a relative – sigh).

Picture Perfect

With that in mind, be choosy with the image you select. Sure, it should encapsulate your message, but try to think outside of the box and when all else fails; pander to the people (cute animals, anyone?). Reaping ample “likes” is great for social proof but as many a-“celebrity” knows it, for good or for bad, the best way to shoot to the top (of the news feed, in our case) is to get people talking about you.

It may seem that based on my aforementioned statements news feed ads are simply bigger and better – in our own personal experience that is not quite the case. Before you press pause on the little guys, consider the symbiotic relationship they have with one another. Right column ads are the jelly to a news feed ad’s peanut butter; the two are simply better together than they are apart (unless you’re into eating jelly alone, in which case…).

Right column ads, though smaller, gain much more impressions due to the fact that you cannot scroll them away the way you can with a news feed ad. Additionally, you can continue to stave off ad decay by featuring differing ads from every angle of the site.

A Well-Rounded Approach

As anyone who has ever advertised with Facebook knows, the advertising options are truly ever-evolving. It feels like just as you’ve eased into the ad creation process, you log-in to your ads manager dashboard to discover they’ve developed a new way of creating or analyzing the performance of an ad.

With that in mind, take advantage of every option a site like Facebook makes available – while it’s available. Outline your campaign objectives before you launch and consider your advertising objectives. Are you striving for brand awareness through actions such as page likes and ad shares or are you gunning for leads through web form opt-ins or event registrations?  Set up your own ad testing to see which ad format mirrors your end-goal the closest and at the best cost-per-lead.

A well-rounded marketing campaign is key for any businesses to deploy; targeting your core demographic with a well-executed ad – be it to the right or down the center – is a great weapon to have in your arsenal.

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